As California deals with the coronavirus pandemic, the services of medical professionals are needed throughout the state. Even in normal times many healthcare facilities utilize the services of "locum tenens" practitioners (a/k/a temporary staff) to deal with fluctuations in demand. With the public health landscape changing day by day, affording our healthcare facilities that flexibility can save lives.
Physicians and some other medical professionals are exempted from AB5, but due to the illogical nature of the exemptions some of the most critical professions are NOT exempt; for example, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. That means if an overburdened hospital needs to quickly bring on more respiratory therapists, they cannot do so without hiring the therapists as employees and going through all of the bureaucracy and extra cost that entails.
In addition, translators are desperately needed to ensure that a scared and anxious public can receive the vital information they need in a language they understand. County public health departments don't keep translators for hundreds of languages on staff; they rely on contracting. But that's not happening right now.
In California and throughout the country politicians are quick to call for stimulus checks to be sent to people who are now unexpectedly unable to work due to quarantines and shutdowns. Thousands of Californians experienced the same thing on January 1, 2020, thanks to our elected officials - and there is no rush at all to help affected independent contractor professionals.
Instead, during a time of global crisis Lorena Gonzalez wants to ensure that California's IC's who could still possibly work (many IC's work from home) are legally prohibited from doing so - without compensation. She wants EDD enforcement actions visible and proactive, an effort that takes the attention of EDD agents away from processing the flood of new unemployment claims. She has clearly lost her mind. It doesn't matter if people die or if unemployed Californians have to wait longer for benefits; she wants AB5 enforced!
It's no surprise that there's a growing chorus of voices demanding that Governor Newsom sign an executive order to at least suspend enforcement of AB5 until 2021, or to repeal it entirely. The Assembly has recessed until mid-April so Newsom is our only hope.
The editorial board of the Orange County Register called on Newsom to suspend AB5 until 2021 in an editorial published March 18:
"The state should suspend any law that makes it even more difficult for Californians to pay their bills during this difficult time.
"Empty grocery store shelves remind us of the important role of delivery drivers. We desperately need more drivers who can get goods to stores and deliver products to people’s homes. In fact, it’s far safer to have food and household goods delivered directly to people’s doors rather than have people waiting in store lines where the virus can easily be spread."
From an op-ed at RedState:
Suspending AB5 would free up independent healthcare contractors to assist their fellow Californians with their medical needs at a critical time in the spread of the virus, which would give healthcare workers in doctors offices and hospitals more time to devote to life-saving in-house care needs.
Beyond that, because so many Californians will either have their hours scaled back as a result of all the places that have basically had to be shut down (restaurants, bars, and the like), many people will be seeking ways they can work from home, perhaps in a freelance capacity, because of the “social distance” rules that are now in effect. Suspending AB5 will allow them the freedom to pursue those opportunities knowing that their income has the potential to be unlimited as long as AB5 is not in effect.
ACTION ITEM: Call, email, and write Governor Newsom and ask him to sign an executive order suspending enforcement of AB5 until 2021.
We're a loose coalition of freelancers and independent contractors trying to centralize information about AB5 and empower ICs across the state to fight for their livelihoods. We tell stories and make plans.
For press and inquiries contact Kira Davis firstname.lastname@example.org